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Media Releases October 2014

The open champs at Hawke's Bay Show - October 19, 2014

Former World champions Cam Ferguson and Joel Henare have retained the Great Raihania Shears open shearing and woolhandling titles respectively at the Hawke's Bay Show in Hastings.

Their wins on Friday (October 24) came in front of Rimitiriu Raihania, great-great grandson of Rimitiriu "The Great" Raihania, after whom the event was named when the shearing competition at the Hawke's Bay Show was revived in 2004.

Rimitiriu "The Great" Raihania won a shearing event at the Show in 1902, thought to have been the first machine-shearing competition in the World.

Ferguson, from Waipawa, was for some time seriously challenged for time honours by workmate Tysson Hema, who was in his fourth Open final since winning the Golden Shears and New Zealand senior titles in 2012 but is still to get the big breakthrough.

But ultimately Ferguson, 31, had a 1min 19sec margin at the end of the four-man, 20-sheep race, which as it eventuated was just enough to hold-off the legend David Fagan, who produced comfortably the best quality points.

Fagan was almost two minutes down but, having just turned 53, quipped he wouldn't have wanted to be any quicker.

Ferguson, who won his World title when he beat Fagan in the 2010 final in Wales, said: "I did one thing I've never done - made a mistake, and still won."

It completed a double of winning both the NZ Spring Shears and Great Raihania titles both for a second time in a row.

The field was missing several top competitors, including two fellow Hawke's Bay stars, new World champion Rowland Smith and 2014 championships teammate and 2008 and 2012 teams champion John Kirkpatrick.

Smith, who became a parent soon after his big triumph in Ireland in May, confirmed he's taking a break this season and not competing - not even to defend his Golden Shears and New Zealand championships titles in the New Year.

Kirkpatrick has a shoulder injury incurred during the Elders Primary Wool UK Tour in July. But both still took an active part in the day, among the pen crew put together by contractor and Shearing Sports Hawke's Bay convenor Colin Watson Paul.

Another Hawke's Bay star missing was five-times Great Raihania winner Dion King, who was in Australia for the weekend with the Te Kuiti NZ Shears team, after winning at the Poverty Bay Show last week.

Henare celebrated his 23rd birthday with an absolutely commanding performance throughout for his fifth win in a row since premature elimination from his World title defence in May.

Maryanne Baty, of Gisborne, was runner-up, and 2007 Golden Shears champion Huia Whyte-Puna, of Napier, celebrated a second final in a week by beating the fourth finalist, New Zealand trantasman team member Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu.




Joel Henare ready for the Open final start. It was his fifth win in a row, on his 23rd birthday.


Junior shearing final winner Hemi Lambert, 15, of Raupunga, watches as the rest of the field finish.


Junior woolhandling winner Teresa Lambert


Some of the woolhandling judges after their presentations
It was another mark of the whanau fraternity and commitment when Henare thanked Penny Kerekere and her partner for bringing him down from Gisborne, where he had been for the week after mum Greta shouted him the trip north for the Poverty Bay Show.

The epicentre of Hawke's Bay shearing sports future shifted a little as as Ngati Pahauwera competitors from Raupunga won the first three titles.

Hemi Lambert, 15, and sister Teresa, 21, who won the junior shearing and woolhandling finals respectively, but elder brother Willie, 24, was unable to make it a treble in the senior final, finishing first but having to settle for fourth, with Robert Mudgway, of Taihape, taking the title on quality.

The other Raupunga hero was 19-year-old intermediate shearing champion Carlton Aranui, who burst onto the scene late last season with Junior wins at Balclutha, Gore and Te Kuiti. Another Ngati Pahauwera prodigy, Mataura-based Marley Waihape, was runner-up.

Big win for farmer Buick in Aussie shears - October 19, 2014

Wairarapa farmer David Buick scored the biggest win of his shearing career on Saturday in Australia's top crossbred shearing event, the Romney Shears Open at Warrnambool, Vic.

The 36-year-old Buick, based near remote Pongaroa, where he also runs a contract shearing operation, was in Australia with a Te Kuiti New Zealand Shears selection, as he was last year when third in a Romney Shears final won for the second time in a row by teammate John Kirkoatrick, of Napier.

This year the team also included runner-up and 2011 winner Dion King, of Hastings, who had had a classy win at the Poverty Bay Show in Gisborne a few days before last week's trip across the Tasman.

King won the 15-sheep race by just a second, finishing in 13min 45sec, but Buick, a 1999 Golden Shears intermediate champion who had to wait almost a decade in the top grade before his first Open win in New Zealand in 2011, sealed the victory with comfortably the better quality, and a margin of more than two-and-a-half points.

It was Buick's seventh open win, his biggest in New Zealand being the 2013 and 2014 Apiti Shears. On both occasions he beat Hastings gun Rowland Smith, who, also on both occasions, went on to win the Golden Shears Open final a week later, and who this year won the World Championship in Ireland.

In 2013 Buick was unable to be at Golden Shears in Masterton, being best man at a friend's wedding, but he made the Golden Shears open final this year for the first time, and has also shorn in two New Zealand Championships open finals in Te Kuiti.




Wairarapa farmer and shearer David Buick winning the Romney Shears Australian crossbred shearing title at Warrnambool on Saturday.
Third on Saturday was Dannevirke shearer Adam Brausch, Australian World Championships team member Jason Wingfield was fourth, Aaron Haynes, of Feilding was fifth, and Queensland-based Jovan Taiki, from Porangahau, was sixth.

It continued a New Zealand domination of the event

There was similar New Zealand domination in other events, including the senior final won by Turi Edmonds, of Raetihi. Third place went to this year's New Zealand Championships intermediate winner, Darren Alexander, of Whangamomona, Jacob Moore, of Marton, was fifth, and 2013 Warrnambool intermediate winner Alex Smith, of Gisborne, was sixth.

The Romney Shears intermediate final was won by Ramone Smith, of Gisborne, while multiple former World and Golden Shears woolhandling champion Joanne Kumeroa, from Whanganui but based in Victoria, retained the Romney Shears open woolhandling title.

On Friday, Buick and King combined to win a 50-sheep speedshear, shearing them in 49min 59sec. King had already won the Mortlake Speedshear.

Buick, King and Haynes had to settle for second in a Te Kuiti-Warrnambool challenge, won by Australians Wingfield, Evo Hennessey and John Dalla.

Four in a row for Coster at Rangiora - October 25, 2014

Newly-acclaimed Master Shearer Tony Coster won the Northern A and P Show Shears open final for a fourth year in a row at Rangiora on Saturday (October 25).

Coster, who has won almost 60 finals in more than 20 years of open-class shearing, was accorded Master Shearer status at the annual meeting of Shearing Spots New Zealand in August.

Most of his wins have been in Canterbury, but he has also won the country's top mixed-breeds events - the PGG WrightsonNational final in Masterton three times (2009, 2010, and 2011) and the New Zealand Shears Circuit final once (2012).

He was one of three 2013 Rangiora winners to win again at the show on Saturday, with Fairlie-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst successfully defending the senior title, and Fernside shearer Hugh De Lacy adding the intermediate title to the junior title he won 12 months ago.

The junior title was won by Kelly Macdonald, of Lake Hawea, winning by a huge margin of 31 points from runner-up Amy Silcock, of Waikari.

There was no blades event.

Coster, Pankhurst and De Lacy had also won a week earlier at the Ellesmere Show at Leeston, while Pankhurst had also won at the NZ Spring Shears in Waimate on October 11.

The favourite to win the four-man Open final on Saturday, Coster shore his 15 sheep in 17min 44sec, 16 seconds ahead of runner-up Eli Cummings, of Pleasant Pt. Coster also had a board-judging mark of less than half that of any of the other finalists, but Cummings had clearly the better pen points and was able to close the gap to just 0.66pts.

King rules again at Poverty Bay Show - October 19, 2014

World record holder and former Golden Shears champion shearer Dion King showed he still has the winning touch when he claimed his fifth Poverty Bay A and P Shears Open title in Gisborne yesterday.

King, 39, has shorn 11 Poverty Bay Shears Open finals since 2001, his victory yesterday by just a quarter-point from fellow Hawke's Bay shearer and 2010 Golden Shears and World champion Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, following previous wins in the event in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.

For Ferguson, King Country legend and six-times Poverty Bay winner David Fagan, and Open-class fledglng Tama Nia it was a repeat of the second, third and fourth placings they had last year when the final was won by now-injured Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick.

Shearing the 20 sheep in 16min 25sec, King pipped Nia Nia by five seconds in the race for time honours.

But it was Ferguson who pushed hardest in the final count, producing the best pen quality points but having to settle for being runner-up in the final for the third time in four years, and not-quite emulating his New Zealand Spring Shears open final win of a week earlier, when he shore one of that event's fastest times.

But they had been warned, when King was top-qualifier in the heats by more than 2pts, and 1.7pts ahead of the next best in the semi-final.

King, who in 2006 won the Golden Shears Open final and the PGG Wrightson National Circuit final and then shore a World Record 866 lambs in nine hours in early 2007, last season stepped-back from the week-in, week-out cycle of competition to focus on other aspects of his life.




The crowd in the Gisborne pavilion as the four contenders battle it out in the Open final.


He was framed...
David Fagan on Stand One
in the Poverty Bay final,
framing the inner,
Hastings gun Dion King,
on Stand Two.

They made it possible
- the Poverty Bay
show shears sponsors
But he still won a key final at Pahiatua, finished fifth in his eighth Golden Shears Open final, and was third in the New Zealand Championships Open final, when second place could have won him an elusive place representing New Zealand at the World Championships.

He said he will shear in a few more events this season, including flying to Australia later this week with a Te Kuiti New Zealand Shears team competing at the Romney Shears in Warrnambool, Vic.

That trip means he will miss his home Hawke's Bay Show on Friday, the 10th anniversary of when he won the event when it was relaunched as the Great Raihania Shears in 2004.

Waipukurau shearer Mohi Gray mustered some of the promise of earlier years when he won the Senior final by 1.75pts from runner-up D J Crawford of Gisborne. It was Gray's first win in New Zealand since he won the Poverty Bay Shears Intermediate title in 2008.

South Island shearer Vahni Stringer, of Ranfurly, had a rewarding trip north to claim a maiden victory in the Intermediate final, by more than 3pts over runner-up Marley Waihape, of Mataura, and Gisborne shearer Zane King celebrated his first final by winning the Junior title.

Henare makes it three-in-a-row at Gisborne - October 19, 2014

New Master Woolhandler Joel Henare continued an unbeaten start to the new shearing sports season with a triumphant homecoming in Gisborne yesterday, thanks to an aunt who shouted the air fare, and a friend who put him up for the night.

Based in the South Island but originally from Gisborne, the 22-year-old father-of-two won the Poverty Bay A and P Show open title for a third year in a row.

He opened the season a fortnight earlier by winning the New Zealand Merino Championships final in Alexandra, and then mastered the change to strongwool fleeces to win his first New Zealand Spring Shears open final in Waimate.

The 2012 World Champion and reigning two-times Golden Shears Open champion scored a comfortable win on Saturday, by 99pts from runner-up Foonie Waihape, also returning to Gisborne, where she was born and named after the town's current Mayor, Meng Foon.

She has risen quickly from Junior class in 2012, to Senior last year, and this year to Open and it was a meritorious effort to beat third placegetter and 2014 New Zealand Championships runner-up Logan Kamura, of Marton, and foremost woolhandling instructor and 2007 Golden Shears Open champion Huia Whyte-Puna, of Napier.

Henare thanked his aunt for giving him the chance to defend the title by paying his fare from the South Island.

An all Gisborne-East Coast Senior final was won by Erena Smith, of Ruatoria, Marton rookie Shanelle Kawana won her first Junior final, and Nya Kerekere, of Gisborne, won the Novice event, reckoning that having missed-out in her only previous competition attempt last year she's got the confidence up and wants to try some more.

The next woolhandling competition of the season will be at the Hawke's Bay Show's Great Raihania Shears on Friday.




Joel Henare, third open woolhandling win in a row


Foonie Waihape, new Open competitor, runner-up in her second final in three weeks.


Logan Kamura, third in Open final.


Huia Whyte-Puna, woolhandling instructor and former Golden Shears Open winner, finishes fourth at Gisborne

Young guns get their moment at Ellesmere Show - October 19, 2014

Inclusion in the North Canterbury Development Circuit helped boost entries in the lower grades at the Ellesmere A and P Show Shears at Leeston on Saturday.

The circuit covers Intermediate and Junior competition at six shows during the summer, continuing at the Northern A and P Show in Rangiora next Saturday, the Marlborough Show in Blenheim on November 8, the Amuri show at Rotherham on March 7, Cheviot on March 14, and a compulsory last round and final the next day at the Kowai-Sefton Sports at Sefton.

Points are awarded for placings in the heats at each show, the top three for the series in each class qualifying for finals which carry a top prize of travel, accommodation and entry for the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti on April 9-11.




Ellesmere Intermediate finalists from left Luis Pincol(4th), Jarred Morgan(3rd), Corey White(2nd), and winner Hugh De Lacy
A big winner first-up was Scottish lassie and first-year junior Emily Te Kapa, who had her biggest success in New Zealand, turning the tables on the previous weekend's Waimate Shears Junior winner Kelly MacDonald, of Lake Hawea.

Although just third off the board in their four-sheep final, Te Kapa's clean and tidy touch carried her to victory by a commanding margin of more than 7pts.

From Crianlarich, near Loch Lomond, Te Kapa burst triumphantly onto the scene in Scotland earlier this year at the Lochearnhead Shears, where she won the Junior shearing final, beat Scotland World Championships team member Kirsty Donald to win the Open woolhandling final, and was top shearer in a development test match between Scotland and Ireland.

In the Intermediate final yesterday, Hugh De Lacy, of Fernside, had a narrow 0.15pts victory over Waimate winner Corey White, of Waimate, while the Open and Senior finals were won by wide margins by the favourites.

Three-times PGG Wrightson National Circuit champion Tony Coster, who was one of three shearers accorded Master Shearer status by Shearing Sports New Zealand in August, won the Ellesmere Open Final for a sixth time.

He was almost a minute quicker than the next to finish the 10-sheep final, and ultimately won by almost 12 points from runner-up and 2009 Senior winner Ant Frew, of Oamaru.

The Senior final was won by 2013 runner-up and 2011 Junior winner Ethan Pankhurst, of Masterton but based in Fairlie, the vanquished including Lincoln student and 2014 New Zealand Championships Intermediate winner Darren Alexander, of Whangamomona.

More than 30 shearers competed across the classes, challenged by the good-conditioned line of boarder dale hoggets introduced to what was one of the most popular attractions at the show.

Lightning Ferguson claims Waimate win No 3 - October 12, 2014

Former World and Golden Shears champion Cam Ferguson put in one of the fastest times in the 47 years of the Waimate Shears open title to successfully defend the New Zealand Spring Shears open title and claim the honours for a third time on Saturday(Oct 11).

The Waipawa shearer, whose first win in the event in 2009 launched the year in which he won his two big titles, shore his 16 full-wooled sheep each in 16min 31.77sec, the fastest time for the final in at least seven years, and the first time since 2010 that anyone has gone under 17 minutes.

He beat legendary Te Kuiti shearer David Fagan by more than half-a-minute, and third-man-off Eli Cummings, of Pleasant Point, by more than two sheep.

The time, calculated at a point for every 20 seconds, was crucial in Ferguson denying the King Country gun possibly one last Waimate title, by just 0.445 points.

Fagan made up some of the gap with superior quality points, but the best job of all was completed by 2014 PGG Wrightson National Circuit champion and newly-acclaimed Master Shearer Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill. A winner of six Spring Shears Open finals, Stratford was tonight placed third.

Soon to turn 53, Fagan had already marked this week's trip south with two Speedshear victories, at a Waikouaiti hotel on Thursday night and in Waimate on Friday night - as he did in 2011 when he last won the Spring Shears title.

Meanwhile, World Championship runner-up New Zealand bladeshearers Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Brian Thomson, of West Melton, outclassed Australian visitors and World Championships third-placegetters John Dalla, of Warooka, South Australia, and Ken French, of Glenisla, Vic, in winning a transtasman bladeshearing test, which opened the night's programme in Waimate.

Dobbs shore his four sheep in 12min 46.89sec, beating next-man-off Thomson by half a minute and also scored the best quality points as the Kiwis won by 34pts.

He had already scored a comfortable victory in the Spring Shears Open bladeshearing final, beating runner-up Thomson by almost 12pt, who in turn was almost 12pts clear of third placegetter Dalla.

There were international aspects to all three lower-grade finals.

South Island-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst won the eight-sheep Senior final by 1.213pts from runner-up Corey Smith, of Waimate, with Scott Wilson, from Scotland, third.

Corey White, of Waimate, had his first Intermediate win, by just under a point from runner-up and Chilean shearer Luis Pincol, while Emily Te Kapa came from Scotland to figure in an all-female Junior quinella, won by Kelly MacDonald, of Lake Hawea.

Wool champ Henare scores Waimate title at last - October 12, 2014

Young Gisborne dad Joel Henare continued his triumphant rebound from the disappointment of an unsuccessful World title defence earlier this year when he won the New Zealand Spring Shears open woolhandling final in Waimate yesterday(Oct 11).

Just 22 and in his 9th season of open-class woolhandling, it was one of the few titles he hadn't won, but he was totally in charge as he made it three-out-of three since he failed to reach the World Championships semi-final in Ireland in May.

He won the All-Ireland All Nations final the same day and opened the new home season by winning the New Zealand Merino Championships open final in Alexandra last week.

Between times he rushed home from the Northern Hemisphere to join partner Erica Reti for the birth of their second child, and, now living in Dunedin, he was in August named a Master Woolhandler, at the age of just 22.

There were 21 starters in in what was one of eight individual events at the championships in South Canterbury and Henare was the top qualifier in the heats and the semi-final.

He then scored easily the best board, oddments and fleece score in the final, after just being beaten for time honours by Te Awamutu woolhandler Keryn Herbert.

Dannevirke woolhandler Rocky Hape-Taite ultimately claimed second place, as he had behind Henare in the finewool event at Alexandra, and at Waimate last year behind Herbert, who today had to settle for third place overall. The fourth finalist was Kodi Hawkins, of Martinborough.

There were all-Hawke's Bay quinellas in both lower-grade woolhandling finals, with Peketai Puna, of Napier, scoring his first win in the Junior final, and Kelly Luke, of Wairoa, winning the Senior title.

Raupunga sisters Jade and Creedence Culshaw had to settle for the second placings, Jade falling just short of winning the Junior title her sister won last year. Creedence, who went on to win last season's Golden Shears Junior title, figured in a close Senior final today, having also been runner-up last week at Alexandra.

Many of the competitors are now heading north for the first North Island competition of the season, at the Poverty Bay Show next weekend.

Top blades shearers confirmed for Waimate test - October 9, 2014

A rematch of two of the World's top blade shearing teams is set for the Waimate Shears on Saturday with confirmation both New Zealand and Australia will be the same sides that finished second and third in this year's World Championships.

The New Zealand team of Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Brian Thomson, of Christchurch, who were beaten only by South Africa in the World final in Ireland, will be up against South Australian shearers John Dalla, of Warooka, SA, and Ken French, of Glenisla, Vic.

The selection of Dalla and French for the shears in Waimate, about 210km south of Christchurch and incorporating the New Zealand Spring Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, was confirmed by Shearing Sports Australia this week.

Crossing the Tasman on Friday, they'll be among about 150 shearers and woolhandlers at the 47th annual shears, being held in the small South Island town's sports stadium.

At least 1400 full-wooled sheep are being prepared for the busy programme of events, which will also include machine shearing championships in four classes, the open blade shearing championship, and the deciding of three woolhandling titles.

Apart from the blade shearing test, the highlight is expected to be the Open machine shearing event, with six-times winner and new Shearing Sports New Zealand Master Shearer Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, out to regain a title he last won in 2009.

In his way are expected to be such competitors as defending champion and 2010 winner Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, and King Country icon David Fagan, another multiple winner who last triumphed at Waimate in 2011.

The heats of the open shearing are also the second round of the PGG Wrightson National Shearing Circuit, which opened with the finewool leg at the New Zealeand Merino Championships in Alexandra last Saturday. Top points scorer in the compulsory first round was 2012 circuit winner Angus Moore, from Marlborough but now living in South Otago.

A top field is also expected for the open woolhandling, which was won last year by Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu.

Shears secretary Eileen Smith is expecting a particularly busy stay, starting at 7.30am, or earlier if people are ready. The Junior woolhandling is first, but entries will close-to double the original expectation of 15-16 entries for that grade.

It's likely the show will have to dispense-with or shorten its breaks to ensure the programme is on track for the Waimate blades heats and final to complete the afternoon. The blades test starts the evening programme at 6.30pm..

Where have all the trophies gone? - October 6, 2014

The absence of an important trophy from the presentations at the New Zealand Merino Championships in Alexandra on Saturday highlights a long-standing issue which over the years has taken some of the shine off winning titles throughout the country.

The trophy in question is the Murphy Trophy, which should have been presented to young Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan for best quality points in the Open shearing event.

But the trophy, like so many other pieces of silverware presented by dozens of sports organisations, has disappeared, and no presentation was made.

To avoid losing them, many sports no longer allow their trophies to be taken away afterwards, not even for the night.

Congratulating Fagan and apologising, NZ Merino Championships chairman Graeme Bell said his organisation had had to also stop letting winners take the trophies from their venue, but 2-3 years ago the Murphy Trophy had still vanished.

All attempts to trace the prize, including seeing if it was gathering dust on an engraver's shelves, had failed, and Mr Bell doubts "whether we'll see it again."

But he concedes such prizes just don't simply get melted-down, and like others that organisations have lost over the years there is a chance it still exists somewhere.

Other trophy presentationsd went ahead, including the Lou Campbell trophy for best senior quality points to Taumarunui shearer Cody Beck, who, nevertheless, had to hand it back straight afterwards.

Mr Bell hopes the incident will encourage people around the country to return trophies that should have been returned to sports organisations years ago.

Australian nails Kiwi merino shears title - again - October 6, 2014

New Zealand's best finewool shearers have again failed to wrestle their big title back from Australian Damien Boyle who won a record fifth consecutive New Zealand Merino open championship in Alexandra on Saturday.

It was an emotional win for the 37-year-old finewool shearing supremo from Tambellup, West Australia, who just a fortnight ago was in hospital after a melanoma scare and deemed himself lucky to be in the Central Otago town, his 20th visit for the championships.

Having arrived in New Zealand just two days earlier, he had little time to get used to the local conditions, but clearly didn't need it as he romped home in a six-man final by almost 15 points from the runner-up and home-crowd hope Colin O'Neill.

Boyle was in Alexandra with Royal Perth Show teammate Mark Buscumb, who was first to finish, shearing his 12 merino wethers in 23min 43.33sec.

Third place went to Invercargill shearer and PGG Wrightson National Circuit champion Nathan Stratford, the last New Zealander to win the Alexandra merino title, in 2009.

On Saturday, it was Stratford who tailed the field, finishing in 26min 5.2sec, but as with Boyle it was the quality of the job which got him into the major money.

Boyle and Buscumb were, however, unable to repeat their transtasman merino series win of a week earlier in Perth, with a revenge victory going to the New Zealand Merino Shears team of Grant Smith, of Rakaia, and O'Neill's brother, Charlie.

Golden Shears woolhandling champion Joel Henare reasserted his domination across all spheres of his sport when he won his second New Zealand Merino Championships Open title, the only finewool event on the Shearing Sports NewZealand calendar.

It was a fitting triumph for Henare, from Gisborne but based in the South Island and who on Saturday was also presented with his Master Woolhandler award. It was in Alexandra 10 years ago that he first began competing, at the age of 12.

In other events at the weekend championships, the senior shearing final provided the biggest win in the career of Taumarunui shearer Cody Beck, and in woolhandling the Senior title went to Sharnie Keefe, of Taihape, and the Junior final was won by Clarissa Lewis, of Gisborne.

Shear fun weekend at national champs in Alexandra - October 3, 2014

Many of New Zealand's top shearers and woolhandlers are gathered in the Central Otago town of Alexandra for the New Zealand Merino Championships which open the Shearing Sports New Zealand season today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday).

Greatest interest at the only finewool event in a season of 60 shows ending a week after Easter next year will centre on the Open shearing in which West Australian shearer Damien Boyle will be out to win the title for an unprecedented 5th time in a row.

Other features at the event include a transtasman match in which Boyle and Royal Perth Show teammate Mark Buscumb will be out to complete a 2-0 home and away series which opened in Pertrh last week with a narrow victory over New Zealanders Grant Smith and Charlie O'Neill.

The Open woolhandling event, won by six different competitors in the last seven years, will be a special time for many competitors as they celebrate 2012 winner Joel Henare's naming in August as the youngest person to be accorded Master Woolhandler or Master Shearing status.

Heats of the Senior Shearing Championship will be held today along with preliminary rounds in the Open, Senior and Junior woolhandling.

All rounds of the Open shearing will be held tomorrow, the heats doubling as the compulsory first round of New Zealand's premier multi-breeds competition, the PGG Wrightson National Circuit.

Other qualifying rounds will be held at Waimate, Christchurch, Marton and Pahiatua, the top 12 qualifying for the semi-finals and final at the 2015 Golden Shears in Masterton.

The championships culminate tomorrow night with the New Zealand Merino-Royal Perth Show Shearing Challenge, and the Open shearing final, a six-man duel over 12 merino wethers each which only two shearers have shorn under 22 minutes in the last six years.

Programme:

Today (Friday):

7am Check In, 7.30am Start, Junior Woolhandling - Heats, Senior Woolhandling - Heats, Junior Woolhandling - Semi Final, Senior Woolhandling - Semi Final, Open Woolhandling - Heats, Senior Shearing - Heats, Open Woolhandling - Quarter finals.

Tonight (Friday):

6.45pm Report Time, Team Event - Heats, Open Woolhandling - Semi Final, Open Team Woolhandling - Semi Final.

Tomorrow (Saturday)

7.30am Check In, 8.15am Start, Open Shearing - Heats, Senior Shearing - Semi Final, Open Shear - Quarterfinals.

Afternoon

Junior Woolhandling - Final, Senior Woolhandling - Final, Teddy Bear Shear, Open Shearing - Semi Final, Senior Shearing - Final.

Tomorrow night (Saturday)

Report 7pm,Start 7.30pm, Senior Shearing Final Prize Giving, NZ Teams - Final, NZ Merino - Royal Perth Challenge, Open Woolhandling - Final, Open Shearing - Final.

A fine shear needed to beat Ockers in finewool champs - October 1, 2014

The two Kiwi shearers beaten by a West Australian team in a finewool shearing match in Perth on Saturday have returned home determined to break an Australian stranglehold on New Zealand's big finewool title this week in the Central Otago town of Alexandra.

The New Zealand Alexandra team of Grant Smith, of Rakaia, and Charlie O'Neill, of Alexandra, was beaten by the Royal Perth Show team of Damien Boyle, from Tambellup, Broomehill, and Mark Buscumb, from Williams, both southeast of Perth.

"But we weren't too far away," said the 48-year-old Smith. "We were within about two points."

The two Australians also finished first and second in the Royal Perth Show Open final, an ominous sign ahead of the New Zealand Merino Championships which open the 2014-2015 Shearing Sports New Zealand season on Friday and Saturday.

Smith was fourth, and O'Neill, 39, just failed to qualify for the final.

In Alexandra Boyle will be aiming for a record fifth consecutive title in New Zealand's only finewool event, while he and Buscumb will be out to complete a 2-0 series win over the Kiwis, and atone for a transtasman challenge loss to Kiwis Tony Coster and Chris Vickers in Alexandra 12 months ago.

Smith, a recognised Master Shearer who won the Alexandra title in 2004 and was runner-up to Boyle in 2010 and third last year, was pinning some of the hopes this week on the Australian's scheduled late arrival.

"He's only flying-in on Thursday, so he won't get a lot of practice in," he said, but added:

"Anything will happen on the day."

Boyle has rarely spent more than a few days preparing for the Alexandra event, in which he first contested the Open final in 1998.

"He still does a good job, so you've got to try to match him with the job, and be a bit ahead of him," Smith said.

Boyle has also "sort of worked-out" how to use cover combs, the metal designed to leave the equivalent of 2-3 weeks wool on the sheep in colder climates but also now being used to offer sheep some protection from sunburn in the hotter climates of Australia.

The NZ Merino Championships include Open and Senior shearing titles, and Open, Senior and Junior woolhandling titles, the first in a Shearing Sports New Zealand season of more than 60 shows ending next April.

The Open shearing heats are the compulsory first round of the PGG Wrightson National Championship, which also includes crossbred longwool at Waimate, corriedale at Christchurch, lambs at Marton and second-shear at Pahiatua, leading to a final at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March.

Invercargil shearer Nathan Stratford won the series title last March and was named a Master Shearer last month, and in 2009 was the last New Zealand shearer to win the Open final at Alexandra.




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